Features: Lake — River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
Moderate rocks, some roots, easy switch backs, and a small creek crossing make this a possible and adventurous run.
Chain Lakes in the extreme southeastern portion of Yosemite is a lesser-known "backdoor" into Yosemite. Most visitors start this trail at the USFS Quartz Mountain
Trailhead about .75mi to the south of Chiquito Pass
. The climb is fairly gradual over variably dusty, sandy and rocky trail, but there are several instances of climbing that are cool spots to catch ones breath. This section of trail ends at the Royal Arch Lake trail junction.
To reach the Quartz Mountain
trailhead, one must take Sky Ranch Road out of Oakhurst for 25 miles of winding road that transitions from pot-holed pavement to fairly well-graded dirt/gravel USFS Road 10 about halfway to the Quartz Mountain Trailhead. High-clearance vehicles are definitely recommended
Because Chain Lakes are in Yosemite National Park, fires are allowed and bear canisters are a must for over night stays. Trout fishing is moderate on the middle lake and great for brook trout in the upper lake.
In normal water years wildflowers can be found along the trail and lakeside from July-September.